Endodontic Dentistry (Root Canal Treatment)
Endodontics is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.
“Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal.
A tooth’s nerve is not vitally important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory — to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.
When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:
- Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
- Bone loss around the tip of the root.
- Draina ge problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.
Benefits of Endodontic Treatment
- Save the tooth being infected or pain from extraction
- Removal of bacterial infection from tooth
- Removal of pain
- Prevention of further spread of infection throughout tooth to periapical tissue and surrounding bone
Procedure for Endodontic Treatment
- a small x-ray of the tooth is taken to check the tooth shape and root canals infection site.
- local anesthesia is administered at the infected site
- a canal is made in tooth to allow for removal of the damaged pulp
- root canal may be cleaned once or several times to ensure infection is cleared
- in some cases, medications may be placed to prevent infection by removing germs from the teeth
- after root canal is check and cleared, the root canal is filled
- the tooth tends to be fragile after root canal treatment has been done, a post and core build-up followed by a crown is usually done placed over the root canal treated teeth to provide extra strength and protection